Storage gets a dose of medical data


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Better patient care
There's little debate that over time an EMR will improve a patient's care and reduce costs. The EMR "saves money in two ways: by eliminating duplication [like duplicate tests and X-rays] and by preventing errors," says Terry Jacobs, director of electronic health records and emerging initiatives at Siemens Medical Solutions in Malvern, PA. With data in one place, healthcare providers can more easily spot potential problems and make healthcare decisions based on a variety of information and input from more people. Fred Trotter, a healthcare industry IT consultant at Houston-based SynSeer Inc., says EMRs improve the quality of care.

Take something as simple as allergies: Let's say you get sick in another city and the doctor there prescribes a drug for you. Neither the doctor nor the pharmacist filling the prescription will necessarily know what you're allergic to, and you could have a serious adverse reaction to the new prescription. "Allergies are part of your EMR, and you want that information to follow you wherever you go," says Trotter.

In other words, an EMR must become ubiquitous, and the industry has a long way to go before that happens. Gartner, in its latest EMR Magic Quadrant, reports that care delivery organizations are "pursuing clinical patient record (CPR) systems in record numbers." Yet at this point, the research firm notes, "fewer

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than 10% have fully implemented a CPR system." (See "Leading EMR vendors," PDF below)

Click here for the Leading EMR vendors (PDF).

This was first published in July 2008

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